The Oakland Raiders have been one of the NFL's most inconsistent teams, beating the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers one next, then falling to the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins the next.
And speaking of the Eagles, it was just last week the Raiders allowed Nick Foles to come into the Black Hole and throw an NFL-record tying seven touchdown passes. After holding the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and Steelers to a combined 346 passing yards, the Raiders watched as Foles torched them for more than 400.
But according to head coach Dennis Allen, it was "one of those days," and now his team is ready to move past it.
"We've obviously hard at work and working to correct those things," the coach said in a conference call Wednesday. "Those things happen in the NFL. I don't think there's anybody in the NFL that hasn't been through one of those days.
"We happened to go through it last week, but we've got to learn from it, we've got to put it behind us, we've got to move on. We recognize we have a tough challenge this week and our job is to get prepared the best we can and go out and play like we feel like we're capable of playing."
That challenge comes in the form of the New York Giants, winners of two straight and just had a bye week to get healthy and game plan for the Raiders. And Allen knows it's a different sort of team that began the year 0-6.
As a defensive coach, Allen believes the different in the Giants in recent weeks is their ability to win the turnover battle. After turning the ball over 23 times in the first six games, the Giants have turned it over twice in their last two games. And defensively, the team has forced six turnovers in the last two games after forcing seven in the first six games.
"The biggest difference is they (have) won the turnover-takeaway ratio in the last couple of ball games, and we all know what a big factor that is as far as your ability to win football games," Allen said. "Over the last couple of weeks they made an increased emphasis on trying to run the football and they've done a good job of stopping the run of defense. They've created takeaway on defense and they hadn't turned it over on offense."
Not only will the Raiders have to face an improved Giants squad, they'll be forced to travel from California to New York for a 1 p.m. ET start, which equates to a 10 a.m. PT start. Historically speaking, it's usually a challenge for the West Coast team on the road.
The Raiders will fly out Friday, go through walkthroughs Saturday and prepare for Sunday's game on East Coast time. As professionals, it's his team's job to prepare for a game, despite the time zone.
"I try not to pay too much attention to that," Allen said. "I don't like to build in any type of excuses. Our job as professional players is to go out and play, no matter what, no matter when they tell us to play it or where they tell us to play it. That's the kind of approach that we've taken. That's the kind of approach we'll continue to take."
One bit of good news for Oakland comes on the injury front, as Allen expects Terrelle Pryor to start. Pryor injured his knee but resumed practicing on Wednesday.
The Giants have already faced a pair of athletic quarterbacks in Michael Vick and Cam Newton. While Vick was slowed down due to injuries for both contests, both he and Newton had success against the Giants defense. Pryor has a similar skill set, though he remains a first-year starter.
"I don't think you can ever take away that athletic ability. That's what makes him special, and we want him to continue to be able to use that athletic ability to make big plays for us," Allen said of his quarterback. "This is his first year as a starting quarterback in the NFL, so he's got a lot of things to learn, just like all young guys do ... He's still got some growth that he needs to do from a pocket presence and he's worked extremely hard on that, and he's been greatest improved as the year has gone on."
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